Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How I figured out I was a Bawse

Lady Blue giving a bawse inspirational speech to the poor and shiftless.

As you all should know by now, I consider myself an entrepreneur, being a business owner and having you know, done everything myself. Although there were signs pointing to my strong desire for career independence, I didn't come to terms with my reality until a few weeks ago. My reality? All I can do in my life is hustle: I don't want a day job, I don't want to wake up painfully early five days a week, I don't want to deal with rush hour, I don't want to do work that I find meaningless, I don't want to shoot the shit with people I have nothing in common with except a workplace. This thought - which I am paraphrasing - sums it all the way up: "Creatives aren't always doing what they love, they are doing what they are driven to do. Their motivation is torture avoidance." Below are the signs that told me I needed to break out of my cage and fly.

"Look closely at the present you are constructing; it should look like the future you are dreaming." - Alice Smith
The lethargy that would creep up a few weeks after starting a new job:
One of the easiest jobs I had in my life was taking reservations at a high-end restaurant, where I was able to work independently and surf the internet during my downtime [which was about 70% of the time]. Oh, and I also convinced them to pay me $17/hr for the privilege, which they did without hesitation. But within a matter of weeks, I started dreading the gig. I would leave my house later and later, cutting it super close with my arrival time. Then “just making it” turned into tap-dancing recklessly on the disrespectful line I was showing up so late. All I know is that Hurricane Sandy gave me the excuse I apparently needed to stop showing up and live my truth, Oprah style. You feel me?

I subconsciously sabotaged interviews, and upon realizing it, didn't care:
I remember sitting across from a leggy former model, who hadn't even bothered to clean herself up for our interview, who spoke to me with the enthusiasm of a snail. I sensed her condescension and boredom, and delivered my answers in the same disinterested tone she initially gave me. It did not go over well, something that was confirmed when she blurted out “So do you want to tell me more about that or do you just not care?” I think I blinked in response. I couldn't wait to get out of there, and that feeling was common throughout most of the interviews I endured in my lifetime. And let's not talk about all the instances where I had an interview scheduled for 10:00am, yet wouldn't awake till something like 11:15. Whatever. I blame external factors!

I have over 290 posts published on this here blog, and I probably have triple that amount in drafts that have never seen the light of day. I have plans from A-Z, with a different set of to-dos for wherever life happens to take me. I had three novel ideas before I settled on the one I'm writing now. I want to produce films, design accessories, creative direct and shit. I'm a visionary and the creative ideas are always cropping up, a big reason why I'm always keeping an eye open for collaborations and more specifically, a talented team.

My premonitions and gut feelings:
Although the thought of fame and/or some sort of remarkable success makes my heart palpitate in a dangerous way, the truth is that if I one day end up helming a profitable business, or on a red carpet, or at a major premiere, or even as a short blurb in a newspaper or magazine, I wouldn't be entirely surprised. Not because I'm any more special or talented than some of the top acts that are out [except for you Rhianna], but because I've seen these visions in my head since I was very young. I didn't know what they meant at the time, but since all of my other visions have come true... the ones about glory no longer seem so far-fetched.

I quit over and over again:
I was never let go for cause, and issues on the job were never related to the quality of my work. But most of my employers had to be blind if they couldn't see how unhappy I was. Sometimes I quit when I sensed the end was coming [like I did after assisting a customer that I apparently shouldn't have at a now out of business Soho boutique], and another time I was let go due to lack of funds within the company. But most of the time, after weeks of feeling like I was slowly dying, I'd take a look around, gather my bearings, and make a decision..."I won't be coming back tomorrow."

Now playing: "Trials of the past" - SBTRKT

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How to be Proper

It has occurred to me that many of you barely know right from wrong, and even less about proper etiquette and what's appropriate in any given situation. Let me, the all-knowing and ever gracious Lady Blue rescue you all and bring you up to date as to what is proper.  

Lots of us have friends in distant places, and the best part about having buddies in these strange, far away lands like Los Angeles, is that we know we automatically have a place to stay when we visit. In order to show gratitude to your host, you should bring them a gift – preferably a little something they can use in their home. [I like gifting luxurious soy candles!] And if you're too broke or forget to manage that, make sure to clean up after yourself everyday [make your bed, wipe down the sink, smoke outside etc], and at the very least, offer to do the dishes one night... goodness gracious. 

We all like food and eating, and some of us with a stable stash of funds even enjoy dining out every now and again. There's a reason why place settings at restaurants don't include a spoon, as spoons are reserved for desserts, soups, sorbets and the like. When eating anything other than the aforementioned items, use a fork – using a spoon to eat your dinner is in poor taste and it just makes you look like you're shoveling food into your mouth. I had to learn this harsh lesson as a teenager, and although I found it weird to use a fork for everything at first, I have yet to look back! 

Gentlemen of the world, picture this: you've just finished dinner with a fine young lady, she's got your coat draped over her shoulders, she's smiling, you're smiling back, you seem to like each other very much. But none of this will matter if you're not walking on the street side of the sidewalk, protecting her from all potential harm! I'm not sure why this is the standard, but it works for me, and if it works for me... you peons shall not question it! And please don't tell me that I need to remind you men to pull out chairs and open doors for women. If you don't at least know those basics, then it is entirely possible that you are beyond salvation. 

Invitations are typically sent out 4-6 weeks in advance.

How else can one be proper? Let me count the ways:
  • Chew with your mouth closed. Don't speak with your mouth full.
  • Say please, thank you, excuse me and you're welcome.
  • Keep your elbows, phone, papers and accessories off the dinner table.
  • The host always sits at the head of the table, and the guest of honor to their left or their right.
  • Don't slurp your soup and don't pop your gum. Both of those things make you look obnoxious and hungry.
  • Use your words, speak up, stop mumbling.
  • You're allowed a maximum of two follow-up inquiries after an interview. Space them a week apart.
  • Take it easy with the PDA, especially in front of company.
  • Don't interrupt, listen to others as they speak, apologize if you need to interject.
  • If the invitation doesn't say “Your name and guest”, consider yourself a solo rider for the function. Don't push it and always RSVP.
  • Always send a wedding gift, whether you attend the affair or not.
  • Lavish events that involve the giving of gifts deserve handwritten thank you cards, sent out in a timely manner.
  • Learn to accept a compliment, don't pry, avoid gossip at social events. 
  • Address people by the name they introduced themselves as. Don't be presumptuous or cute.
  • A funeral is not the time to experiment with color, unless otherwise specified, show respect and wear black.
  • Don't wear white to anyone's wedding, I don't care how much you despise them.
  • No one really follows this anymore, but it's considered appropriate to remove your hat when inside.
  • If you have the good fortune of traveling via plane somewhere, dress as if you're grateful for the opportunity.
  • Stand up straight, give a firm handshake, look people in the eye.
  • Adhere to the dress code. Don't know what black-tie or cocktail attire entails? Google it.
  • Sending flowers is always tasteful and appropriate.
  • Be a gracious host, and a delightfully grateful guest
Now playing: "The Moon and The Sky" - Sade & Jay Z

Over It III

It's a new year, and yet, I find myself here again, lamenting all the things I am absolutely, positively OVER. Enjoy.

People who talk mad shit about what they're up to when they ain't up to shit:
This is self explanatory. Couple all that shit-talking with a dead end job in the ubiquitous and all too vague 'sales', and you can REALLY miss me with all your yip yap. 

The headlines full of derogatory racist slurs with white writers in the bylines:
Did we forget the Nigga bitch and Chink Lin fiascoes that were all over the blogs not too long ago? It is completely inappropriate to bring peoples race into a non racial discussion this way. I'm sick of this. Why exactly is this a problem? Because as much as America likes to delude itself, this country is nowhere near post-racism to allow this to slide. It's not that non-whites lack a sense of humor, it's that things like this are not seen as funny when many of us face similar jabs in our daily lives, the difference being that the perpetrators in the “real world” are often willfully ignorant and dead serious. And the writers and editors can miss me with their predictable faux apologies, full of clueless and careless statements like “I'm sorry you were offended.” Oh that's not what you meant? Okay. Say what the fuck you mean the first time so that you don't end up groveling and apologizing for your subconscious racism later. See? Easy. 

The use of the word “female” to refer to women:
This is one of those things that I've only seen men of color do. The word female strips a woman of her humanity, and it begs the question, female what? Female dog, female bird, female pig?! Female woman doesn't make sense, and therein lies the problem. Imagine if women referred to men as “males”. It just sounds wrong, ignorant and misinformed. I find 'woman' and even 'girl' more appropriate than the basic sex identifier “female”. But when addressing me, feel free to use 'Lady', of course. 

Cosmetic companies that are drowning in a sea of milk:
In all too many brands of makeup, I am the last or second to last shade available. Sometimes there isn't even a shade available that matches my skin color. This is ridiculous, especially since I have the same light tan skin tone as Denise Vasi and Vanessa Hudgens. What are girls darker than me supposed to buy? Do cosmetic companies expect us to slather ourselves in mud?! And please miss me with the lazy "one shade fits all" products currently on sale. Becca has an amazing range [with more than 30 shades of foundation/concealer available], as do the more limited but still extensive palettes by NARS, Bobbi Brown and MAC. Iman specializes in makeup for darker skin tones, as well as a few other drugstore brands [although I find their formulations to be cheap and chalky]. But those brands are only a handful out of the hundreds of makeup brands that exist. Cosmetic companies need to stop ignoring us [us = women with a butterscotch to dark chocolate complexions!]

The poison that America repackages and calls food: 
...and the lies that they want to sell as nutrition. And I'm not just talking about McDonalds and fast food. But don't take my word for it! Get thee to a flat screen and watch Food Inc. Get educated, and thereafter make healthy choices. You'll feel better, you'll look better and as an added bonus, you'll get your taste buds back. 

Instagram: 
I don't have have an instagram account and I never will, so y'all can stop asking me now. Why? I don't feel the need to show the nosy world what I'm doing on a daily basis, I don't need the validation from people I don't care about and men I'd never date, I have enough stalkers/obsessed followers as it is and I never remember to take pictures of myself or my surroundings anyhow. How many struggle meals, coveted yet unpurchased luxurious items, Kim K/Rhianna/Beyonce wannabes and cellulite-ridden asses perched ever so carefully on bathroom sinks does one need to see? How many memes, Forever 21 outfit-of-the-days, bottle service club nights and new Jordan photos does one need to view before enough is enough? I had my fill of shit photography after perusing only a handful of profiles.

Now playing: "I don't care" - Icona Pop

Monday, January 21, 2013

Life is Your Creation

An outfit I plan on "manifesting" into my possession
in order to "create" the appearance that I am nouveau riche.

[AKA Swag on a trill.]

Throughout all the advice I've given on this blog, and all the experiences I’ve shared, there's one thing that has always sat in the back of my mind... and it's the fact that NO ONE - not even the all-knowing young lady writing this passage - has the master key to life. There is no foolproof way to live... there is no unilateral high road we should all be taking... and the differences in our needs and desires is really what makes life interesting and new and exciting. If everyone behaved the way we wanted them to, if everything were to happen as expected... well life would lose its color and luster. Nothing would be shiny or brand spanking new, it would be as awe-inspiring as a brown paper bag.

Don't be so quick to absorb what people say and do and recommend. I beg you... Figure out what works for you, and try to dodge the curve-balls that get thrown your way with sense and agility. Because at the end of it all, life is what you make it... and how you handle what happens to you.

Now playing: "Something about the Fire" - Adele vs. Daft Punk [Carlos Serrano remix] 

[Edit 1/21/13: Although there is no one "right" way to live... I believe that worst way to live, hands down, is in fear.]

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Thirteen is Lucky, Right?

Just a glimpse of the fun I had this New Years Eve.

This morning I tweeted “I am so at peace. It really does start with the mind” and after some thought, I added “...and with proving your fears and doubts wrong.”

I went to a few parties in December, and doing so reinvigorated me in a way that I desperately needed. In just a few short weeks, I regained confidence in the world at large, but even more in myself and my ability to make shit happen. I remembered that I was brilliant and capable, that I was healthy and young, and that I had reserves of strength and energy I could always tap into. I dated a total hottie which not only reminded me that I'm gorgeous enough to attract one, but also reminded me what I truly desired from a man when I tossed him a few weeks later for toeing the unfaithful line. I completely walked away from the idea of a job and decided to fully commit to my other baby: Elle B. I went out for the first time this New Years Eve [which is now my new tradition!] and it reminded me that a fun time can be had with anyone with the right energy [Brooklyn Greeks are awesome].

I was on the phone with a new friend last night [an incredible actor who you'll most likely be seeing more of on this blog!] and I was telling him about my “75% effort” plan. He said, and I'm paraphrasing, “It's not that you weren't making an effort before, it's that you were doing spiritual work, to now be ready for the physical changes you want to make.” It was a light-bulb moment for me... because he was absolutely correct, and because it taught me that I needn't discredit the last five years' [at times, grueling] emotional upheaval. My baptism by fire at 19 has created a god-like and spiritually attuned woman that I'm quite proud of today. [I don't at all mean this in the religious sense – I am agnostic after all].

In 2012, I learned:
  • Time is of the essence, it waits for no one and it's the one thing you can never, ever get back. So get to it!
  • People can surprise you and you can surprise yourself... in both great and terribly unexpected ways.
  •  A man who critiques me incessantly under the guise of genuine concern is actually just insecure and jealous [because at 24, I had more than he did at 32] – and that when that same man lives with his mother, has two children from two different women, unquantifiable delusions of grandeur and no viable career path - he certainly shouldn't be listened to.
  • Even though it hurts the wallet, eating clean tastes great and makes you feel even better.
  • If you take a job just for the money, that is all you will get.
  • I can't date men who don't know where their head or hearts are at – to be with me, a man needs ambition, a plan, a shining soul and a head, heart and dick that feel fulfilled with one woman.
  • People who can't trust me even though I've given them zero reason not to don't deserve my friendship.
  • “Funny feelings” that you just can't quite put your finger on should be interpreted as a red light, until further notice.
  • Designer duds suit me like a mutha... and when I look good, I feel good.
  • Fears and doubts shouldn't consume me, instead they should be challenged, because in doing so, I'm able to see how baseless most – if not all – of them are.
  • The more manageable my skin gets, the more my confidence increases.
  • Speaking of which, natural skincare and treatment options are the only way to go!
  • Laziness is so unbecoming.
  • I need to start taking full steps towards financial independence and entrepreneurship now, because there's no better time than when I'm young, unencumbered and crazy enough to still believe I'll make it.
And because I learned all these things in 2012 – and I don't repeat my mistakes – 2013 will be epic.

Now playing: “Descending” - Big Boi & Little Dragon. "If you don't know me by now..."

P.S. - This couldn't have come at a better time. Needless to say, I concur entirely.